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Big Fours

A list of big fours that I can think of/are already established for different genres

Essentially, all "Big Fours" have their own unique rankings while still maintaining at least a "first place" which holds and maintains a legacy and a "last place" which is still respected, if not a bit out-of-place. There is, however, a certain "type" of big four which can be seen in a few genres. For simplicity's sake, I'll call this "Type A".

In Type A, we first have a group that was short-lived (at least in terms of actual discography and timespan compared to the other three bands) yet still maintain a legacy and has at least one of their albums be seen as a "classic". I would classify Nirvana to be this band when considering the big four of grunge. For Nirvana, this "classic" is either Nevermind (in the eyes of the average mainstream listener) or In Utero (in the eyes of more die-hard fans), though a real OG would know that Bleach is, in fact, their best album.
2Alice In Chains

The second band that applies to this concept would be the one which is generally agreed to of peaked with a certain album, with their later albums being seen as consistent in quality. Alice In Chains perhaps fit this mold the best out of the big four of their associated genre, with their post-Staley material in particular gaining respect while still standing in the shadow of Dirt, what's typically seen as their best LP.
3Pearl Jam

We now move on to a similar case, in which many consider that the band in question peaked with an album and was never able to relive the same quality to varying degrees of disdain. Some cases the critiques are not so harsh (i.e. the "classic" album is so good it's borderline impossible to achieve it again), other cases it's just another way of saying that the group sucks ass now. Whatever case may be, I would say it applies to Pearl Jam the best just by looking over their ratings: Their debut has a 4.4 average, their latest record has a 3.3.

Lastly, we have the fourth group. The "last place", so to speak. This is a band which holds respect and is largely related to the rest of the big fours as a result of it's existence among the same era and consistent quality of their material. However, as respected as their discography may be, it's generally agreed that they lack a certain "peak", any "perfect albums", or, in a similar case with the first band, it's generally debated which album of their's is their best. I'd consider Soundgarden to be this band when it comes to the big four of grunge, as they don't seem to hold the same legacies as their contemporaries and their shining moment is never a single answer: It's either Badmotorfinger, or Superunknown.

Admittedly, you could argue that Soundgarden and Pearl Jam should be switched around. Pearl Jam has a similar issue with their first two records, though to reiterate Ten appears to have more praise thrown it's way.
We Are the Romans

With all this in mind, I will now move onto the big four of mathcore, a genre which generally has four bands typically seen as it's best representation. Without a doubt, Botch is the "Nirvana" of their genre as they too have a small discography in comparison with their contemporaries. Difference is, however, their 1999 swansong We Are The Romans is considered by many as their magnum opus.
6The Dillinger Escape Plan
Calculating Infinity

It's pretty tricky deciding on whether TDEP or Converge would be their Alice In Chains of mathcore, but ultimately I decided that TDEP would be the most suitable choice. Here's why: They managed to avoid the "Jane Doe effect" almost entirely and received a consistent amount of praise for their whole career, even when compared to the acclaim their first two records received. Did they ever match the two? Depends on who you ask. Are their those who wished they continued the Calculating Infinity sound? Yes, but they're a relatively small minority I would say...
Jane Doe least when compared to those who compare every Converge LP post-You Fail Me to Jane Doe. In all honesty, this is the only reason I equate Converge as the "Pearl Jam" of their genre. They're still beloved by many -core fans, and the rest of their discography is praised to high hell. But seriously, how many times have you read a Converge thread where not a single soul brought up Jane?
Functioning on Impatience

Finally, we have Coalesce, a group which is well respected and rather popular (at least within their respective scene), yet lacks that real defining moment. Sure, 0:12 was featured in Decibel once, and OX charted, but none of their records have ever achieved the same critical success as Jane, Calculating, or Romans. Their records are all seen as equals, essentially.
Master of Puppets

Here's the one you've most likely came for: The big four of thrash (or, what Sinternet would likely call it: the big four of ass). This differs from the "Type A model" as all four bands could be seen as "Pearl Jams", that is, they all peaked with certain albums and slowly "degraded", never being able to relive their former glory.

If anything, Metallica is the closest equivalent to Pearl Jam. Every ounce of praise they get as a band is largely a response to either Ride the Lightning or it's clearly superior successor Master of Puppets. Even their post-Puppets albums have their fair share of detractors. And Justice? Bad production, bad song writing. The Black Album? Too clean cut. Everything else? Not thrashy enough, or just crap.
Rust in Peace

Megadeth is in a similar situation as Metallica, as their 90's material as a whole often gets a response of a mere "meh" to die hard fans of Rust In Peace and Peace Sells... And least we forget Supercollider. Still, they've put out albums which were awarded praise, if not short of the same they got in their glory days.
Reign in Blood

Slayer is perhaps the most fitting band to be called the "Alice In Chains" of thrash as even the records seen as their worst (i.e. their millennial period) still gets a better reputation compared to the weakest efforts of their peers within the four. But just like Megadeth, they never made another album quite as praised as any of their first five.
Among the Living

Finally, the "last place" of thrash. Still ones up Coalesce in the sense that they do have an album their fans agree to be their best: Among the Living. It's just that, unlike the other three bands grouped with them, that's seen as their only album of that quality.
13Aphex Twin
Selected Ambient Works 85-92

To move on to our last grouping, I'll look at IDM. Keep in mind that the tag is very loose, and that all of these four groups are rather different in style and are only lumped together really due to the fact that they're all on the same label and are generally praised within the same circles.

Anyways, Aphex Twin is like "Pearl Jam" in that his post-2010 material is stuck within the shadow of his glorious reign in the 90's, in which he pumped out tracks and albums that all got high praise, and still do to this day.
Tri Repetae

Autechre, on the other hand, are practically seen as gods that do no wrong among electronic fans, even if more "mainstream" sources mute their praise at times. If you want a better understanding of what I mean, just skim through their section at the WATMM forums...
15Boards of Canada
Music Has the Right to Children

Boards of Canada have a similar case, except they have the advantage of being acclaimed in practically every corner of the world and the internet they're able to get attention of.
Hard Normal Daddy

And then we have Squarepusher, whose early work is generally seen as his peak, with almost everything after the turn of the millennium seen as hit or miss. Again, if you want to really see what I mean, lurk his section of WATMM. The amount of dudes who say he fell off is hilarious.
Superfuzz Bigmuff

Anyways, let's talk about "fifth places" because why not lol. I'd say Mudhoney would be the "fifth place" of grunge, if only because their early stuff helped popularize it within their area and they're now seen as one of the real originators of the style.
18Cave In
Until Your Heart Stops

This is the closest this band has ever gotten to mathcore, and it's pretty much their Jane Doe in the eyes of those who prefer their heavy style. A essential amongst the canon, you could say.
Bonded by Blood

How many times do you hear that this band should be in the big four of thrash, not Anthrax?
Lunatic Harness

Tough one for IDM, because as I said it's such a loose term. Could Venetian Snares count? How about u-Ziq? You get my point.
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